Shakira Mebarak

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known professionally as Shakira (pronounced /ʃəˈkɪərə/, Spanish: [tʃaˈkiɾa] or [ʃaˈkiɾa]), is a Colombian singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira revealed many of her talents in school as a live performer, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Middle Eastern influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks fluent English and Portuguese as well as some Italian, French and Arabic.

After commercial flops with local producers on her first two albums, and being little-known outside Colombia, Shakira decided to produce her own brand of music. In 1995 she released Pies Descalzos, which brought her great fame in Latin America and Spain, and her 1998 album ¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? was a critical success selling over 7 million copies worldwide. In 2001, aided by the worldwide success of her first English single "Whenever, Wherever", she broke through into the English-speaking world with the release of Laundry Service, which sold over 13 million copies worldwide. Four years later, Shakira released two album projects called Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Both reinforced her success, particularly with the best selling song of the 2000s, "Hips Don't Lie".

In 1995, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. During her career, Shakira has performed at a large number of benefit concerts. Among the most famous are the Live 8 Benefit Concert in July 2005, the Concert of Live Earth in Hamburg where she headlined the show, as well as the "Clinton Global Initiative" created by former US President Bill Clinton. She was also invited to the Oval Office by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to discuss early childhood development.

She has won two Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She is also the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer after Gloria Estefan, having sold over 50 million albums worldwide according to Sony Music Entertainment. Her U.S. album sales stand at 9.6 million.

In the fall of 2009, Shakira released her sixth album She Wolf worldwide. Shakira's "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", was chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song has received generally positive critical reception, and has become a worldwide smash hit and the biggest selling World Cup song of all time. On YouTube, the English version of the music video is the 3rd most watched video of all time with over 300 million views. Her seventh studio album, the bilingual Sale el Sol, was released October 2010 and has shipped over 2 million copies worldwide.

She was engaged to the son of the former President of Argentina, Antonio de la Rúa. Their romantic relationship lasted almost 11 years and ended in August 2010, however they are still business partners. She is now dating Spanish footballer Gerard Piqué and confirmed their relationship in March 2011.

Early life
Shakira was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her father is originally from the United States, born in New York, at 5 years old his family moved to Sincelejo from New York then relocated to Barranquilla. She is the only child of Nidia Ripoll and William Mebarak Chadid and is of Lebanese (Arab), Spanish (Catalan), and Italian descent. She has eight older half-siblings from her father's previous marriage.

She spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia. Shakira wrote her first poem, entitled "La Rosa De Cristal" ("The Crystal Rose") when she was only four years old. As she was growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for one as a Christmas gift. She got her wish at age seven and continued writing poetry. These poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of two, an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and at the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song entitled "Tus gafas oscuras" ("Your dark glasses") which was inspired by her father, who for years wore dark glasses, to hide his grief. When Shakira was four, her father took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant, where Shakira first heard the doumbek, a traditional drum used in Arabic music and which typically accompanied belly dancing. Before she knew it, Shakira was dancing on the table, she then knew she wanted to be a performer. She enjoyed singing for schoolmates and teachers (and even the nuns) at her Catholic school, but in the second grade was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong. The music teacher told her that she sounded "like a goat". At school, she says she had been known as "the belly dancer girl", as she would demonstrate every Friday at school a number she had learned. "That's how I discovered my passion for live performance," she says.

When she was eight, Shakira's father declared bankruptcy. While the details were sorted out, she stayed with relatives in Los Angeles. On returning to Barranquilla, she was shocked to find that much of what her parents owned had been sold; as she later said "In my childish head, this was the end of the world." To show her that things could be worse, her father took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there. The images stayed with her and she said to herself "one day I’m going to help these kids when I become a famous artist." Between the ages of ten and thirteen Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained some recognition in the area. It was at about this time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with her and as a result tried to help her career. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and, returning to the Sony office, gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was something of "a lost cause". Vargas, not daunted, was still convinced that Shakira had talent, and set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira's performance. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums.

Other work
Shakira appeared in the Colombian telenovela El Oasis in 1994, playing the character of Luisa Maria. In December 2009, Shakira appeared as herself in the Ugly Betty episode "The Bahamas Triangle". In 2010, Shakira appeared as a fictional version herself in an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place. She was also mentioned several times on The George Lopez Show. She was invited personally by Gabriel Garcia Marquez to play a role in Love in the Time of Cholera, but declined due to the nudity involved.

‎Shakira is well known for her dancing in various music videos and in concert. Her moves are based on the art of belly dancing, a part of her Lebanese heritage. She often performs barefoot. Shakira says she learned this form of dance as a young teen to overcome her shyness. She also mentioned in a MTV interview that she learned how to belly dance by trying to flip a coin with her belly. The intense training has afforded her a fluidity in her body movement most seen in the videos to her hits "Ojos Así", "La Tortura", "Hips Don't Lie", "Whenever, Wherever / Suerte", "Beautiful Liar" "and "She Wolf / Loba". She has had several belly dance choreographers, including award-winning Bellydance Superstar Boženka. As the MTV Making the Video for "La Tortura" reveals, she worked with Jamie King on the choreography, but ended up creating most of it herself.

Shakira became the 2010 celebrity spokesperson for the Freixenet traditional Christmas TV commercial. Each year, this Cava company taps into a world-famous celebrity to be the face of its much-awaited holiday TV spot. For her latest venture, Shakira dressed up as a golden sparkling wine bubble, "This year, let's toast so that the sun shines more than ever. The best is yet to come. Merry Christmas." Shakira says in the ad. In a press conference in Barcelona, Shakira presented the Christmas commercial, which will start airing in Spain on December 9. The singer also took the opportunity to announce that she used the $500,000 EUR ($662,085 USD) honorarium given to her by the Spanish bubbly to finance two schools run by her foundation, Pies Descalzos. The partnership between Shakira and Freixenet also includes a Pies Descalzos Foundation promotional video, directed by longtime Shakira collaborator and fellow Catalan Jaume Delaiguana.

Philanthropy
In 1995, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. It was funded by Shakira and other international groups and individuals. The name of the foundation is taken from Shakira's third studio album called Pies Descalzos, released in 1995. During her career, Shakira has performed at a large number of benefit concerts. In 2002 she sang at a Party in the Park concert fundraising for the Prince's Trust. That same year she performed at Divas Live which supports VH1's Save the Music Foundation. On July 2, 2005, she performed her hits "Whenever, Wherever" and "La Tortura" on the Live 8 benefit concert at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris. On July 7, 2007, the singer opened the German leg of Live Earth in Hamburg. Her set included "Don't Bother", "Inevitable", "Día Especial" (with Gustavo Cerati) and "Hips Don't Lie".[90] Shakira also performed at the "Clinton Global Initiative", where she performed her hits "Underneath Your Clothes", "Inevitable" and "Hips Don't Lie". On May 17, 2008 Shakira and twenty other Latin American and Spanish artists performed in Buenos Aires and Mexico City to raise money for Shakira's Latin America in Solidarity Action "America Latina en Accion Solidaria" (ALAS Foundation) charity. This concert attracted 150,000 people in Buenos Aires. Although tickets were free, the demand exceeded the supply; some fans who were fortunate enough to secure free tickets resold them.

She has agitated against the implementation of the Arizona statute SB1070 against illegal immigration, saying that it goes against civil rights.

Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is one of their global representatives. "Shakira, like all our Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world. We're very pleased to have Shakira join the UNICEF family. I know she'll help bring UNICEF's mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – young people themselves", said UNICEF's Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

On April 3, 2006, Shakira was honored at a United Nations ceremony for creating the Pies Descalzos Foundation. At the event, the singer said, "Let's not forget that at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America." On September 28, 2007 at the Clinton Global Initiative, it was revealed that Shakira received a commitment of $40 million from the Spanish government to help the victims of natural disasters. An additional $5 million was to be donated to four Latin American countries, to be spent on education and health. As part of the May 2007 concerts, her ALAS Foundation was able to solicit commitments of US$ 200 million from philanthropists Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, and Howard Buffett, son of U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, the singer announced on April 15, 2008.[96] In December 2007, Shakira visited Bangladesh to appeal for the victims of Cyclone Sidr. She spent 3 days with the victims and visited children affected by the disaster in schools built by UNICEF and participated in the distribution of family kits and warm clothes. She said that little was left of the school she visited in the village of Mirzapur, but it still provided an "oasis" for the children. "I am more convinced than ever that education is the key to so many of the difficulties that our children face in countries like mine or in developing countries like this one. It's the key to a better and safer world," she said.

Shakira served as the Honorary Chairperson for "Action Week" 2008 (April 21–27). The event is sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), to generate awareness about the Education for All Act. She spoke with the U.S. Congress, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and World Bank President Robert Zoellick to promote a move towards Global Education. Angelina Jolie served as last year's chair. People En Español announced in their December 2008/January 2009 issue that Shakira is the "Humanitarian of the Year" as part of their "Las Estrellas del Año" (Stars of the Year) awards. Shakira was also ranked at number 48 on the list of Top 50 Most Charitable Celebrities by OK! magazine. It reported that she donates approximately $55,000 to charity yearly. On her 32nd birthday, Shakira opened a new $6-Million school in her hometown Barranquilla, which was sponsored by herself and her Pies Descalzos Foundation.

On December 7, 2009 Shakira was honored as a guest at the University of Oxford to give a speech about her work with children and education. She was chosen by the Oxford Union and joined the ranks of Albert Einstein, several US Presidents, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama XIV, as a chosen speaker. During the speech, Shakira said, "That is how I want the youth of 2060 to see us: That our mission for global peace consisted of sending 30,000 educators to Afghanistan, not 30,000 soldiers. That in 2010, world education became more important than world domination."

In March 2010, she was awarded a medal by the United Nations' International Labor Organization in recognition of being, as UN Labor Chief Juan Somavia put it, a "true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice." In November 2010, after performing as the opening act of the MTV European Music Awards, the Colombian singer also received the MTV Free Your Mind award for her continuing dedication to improve access to education for all children around the world.

In February 2011, the FC Barcelona Foundation and Pies descalzos reached an agreement for children's education through sport.

Personal life
Relationships
Shakira is Roman Catholic. In 2000, she started dating Antonio de la Rúa. In a 2009 interview, Shakira stated their relationship already worked as a married couple, and that "they don't need papers for that." On January 10, 2011, Shakira announced on her website that after 11 years together, she and de la Rúa had separated in August 2010 after making "a mutual decision to take time apart from our romantic relationship." She wrote that the couple "view this period of separation as temporary and as a time of individual growth as we continue to be partners in our business and professional lives", with de la Rúa overseeing Shakira's "business and career interests as he has always done."

Shakira has currently been dating Gerard Piqué (10 years younger centre back for FC Barcelona). Shakira officially confirmed their relationship on March 29, 2011 via Twitter and Facebook posting a picture of the two with a caption reading, "I present to you my sunshine." It was the first time she'd ever spoken of the relationship.

Other
Shakira is interested in world history and frequently studies the history and languages of the countries she visits. After her Oral Fixation tour ended in summer 2007, Shakira attended a class in Los Angeles at UCLA, on the History of Western Civilization. She used her middle and last names, Isabel Mebarak, and told the professor she was visiting from Colombia so as to avoid being recognized as a celebrity. Shakira is a cousin of model and 2005–2006 Miss Colombia, Valerie Domínguez.

Style
Music and voice
Shakira is known to have adopted many genres, including folk, mainstream pop and rock. In an interview with Rolling Stone she said: "My music, I think, is a fusion of many different elements. And I'm always experimenting. So I try not to limit myself, or put myself in a category, or... be the architect of my own jail". Her earlier Spanish albums, including Pies Descalzos and ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? were a mix of folk music and Latin rock, while her cross-over English album, Laundry Service and her later albums were influenced by pop rock and pop Latino. Her 2009 album, She Wolf is more like electropop and dance music. Her 2010 album, Sale el Sol, is a return to her beginnings containing ballads such as "Lo Que Más" and "Antes de las Seis", rock songs like "Tu Boca" and "Devoción", and Latin dance songs like "Loca".

Influences
Shakira has told many interviewers that she has grown fond of listening to oriental music, which influenced many of her earlier works. For example, Shakira used the Indian theme for her performance of "Hips Don’t Lie" at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. She has also been influenced by her Arab heritage, which was a major inspiration for her breakthrough world hit "Ojos Así". She told Portuguese TV "Many of my movements belong to Arab culture." She also cites her parents as major contributors to her musical style.

In childhood, Shakira preferred rock and roll music, listening heavily to her favorite rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, The Police and U2. She lists John Lennon as her #1 musical influence. She was also deeply influenced by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Pretenders, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Ramones, whose influence can be heard on her many prominent songs. In a recent interview to Elenco magazine, she noted that in her opinion the perfect songs are "Imagine" by John Lennon and "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley.

Shakira made several covers of prominent artists such AC/DC and Aerosmith, using them to sing in her tours, resulting in performances of "Back in Black" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" during her Tour of the Mongoose. She also sang the classic Elvis Presley song "Always On My Mind" at the VH1 Divas Live. In her 2010-2011 tour called The Sun Comes Out World Tour, she sings "Nothing Else Matters" by the heavy metal band Metallica in an oriental style. She is also strongly influenced by Andean music and South American folk music, using her native instrumentation for the Latin dance-pop "Whenever, Wherever" and "Despedida". Shakira recently performed two songs for two separate Haiti benefit events: "I'll Stand By You", by The Pretenders, and "Sólo le pido a Dios" by León Gieco.

In terms of Spanish language rock Shakira is indebited to the Argentine rock power trio Soda Stereo and to the Mexican American band Santana.

"I have been a Cerati fan all my life when he was part of Soda Stereo and before knowing him I had already gone to three of his concerts. Both Gustavo [Cerati] and Santana has enriched me, they are my small wonders"

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